• reconciliactionyeg

Indigenous Voices Conveying Truth: Shaping the Future of Reconciliation in Canada.

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Tansi Nîtôtemtik,


A record 77 Indigenous candidates ran for elected office in yesterday's federal election. Yes, cheer with us, dear readers! This is a significant milestone for Indigenous communities because Indigenous voices are going to Parliament. Even those who were not elected stood up and were heard during the election campaign, and most will continue to speak up on issues that matter to Indigenous peoples.


The time is ripe for more Indigenous voices to be heard. Voters, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous alike, are looking on as First Nations communities recover their children from the mass graves at former residential schools. So far, 6,128 children from 20 communities across Turtle Island have been located. The truth is coming out and people are watching and learning. Now is the time for Indigenous Members of Parliament to enter into the House of Commons, convey this truth, and shape the future of reconciliation in Canada. Now is the time to ride that momentum into Parliament and move the federal government towards reconciliation. It is therefore imperative that Indigenous voices contribute to the conversation about the future of reconciliation in Canada.


Of the 338 electoral districts there are approximately 2,018 candidates who campaigned for your vote, 77 of which self-identify as Indigenous. Although 3.8 percent appears to be woefully low for Indigenous candidates, it is important to remember that in the 2015 federal election, there were 54 Indigenous candidates, and in 2019, there were 62 Indigenous candidates. The growth of Indigenous candidates from 2015 until 2021 is an incredible 43% increase in the number of Indigenous candidates! That is 23 more Indigenous voices speaking up about federal issues.


According to Janine Seymour, a member of the New Democratic Party (NDP), “the increase in the number of Indigenous candidates reflects what is really happening in Canada; the frustration and disappointment with the status quo, 150 years of government-driven racism, and the struggle to feed and house ourselves has motivated marginalized people to stand up and speak out.”


Some people are cynical about whether Indigenous candidates can truly make a difference. They see that Indigenous candidates often run for seats in which their party has a slim chance of winning, or even run against another Indigenous candidate. Even if Indigenous candidates are elected, some people wonder whether Indigenous Members of Parliament can even have their voice heard. Will they be silenced by the party line? Will they get a seat at the decision making table? Will they retain the support of their constituency? These are valid concerns and speak of the continued harms that these colonial institutions create.


However, change cannot occur without these brave voices in Parliament. We are starting to see change with the appointment of an Indigenous Governor General, the public support towards Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Puglaas, and the designation of September 30th as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. More people are listening. More people are starting to understand. And more people are speaking up to make the change for Indigenous representation in Parliament.


Until next time,

ReconciliACTION YEG


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